SportsCenter continues to be a heavy hitter for ESPN, as the daily program has seen a notable increase in year-over-year ratings thus far this year. According to Sports Business Journal, seven out of eight of the program’s windows posted a viewership increase in January-June 2023 relative to that same time period last year.
As per SBJ’s Austin Karp, SportsCenter viewership overall is up 7% in that timeframe, rising to an average of 442,000 viewers. And a lot of that has to do with Scott Van Pelt, who just continues to do numbers for ESPN. Amid a mass exodus from ESPN (recent casualties include on-air personalities like Neil Everett), Van Pelt’s presence on the midnight edition of SportsCenter remains a constant.
Back in March, the company announced that SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt was then averaging 903,000 viewers in 2023, which was a whopping 45% increase from the same period in 2022. While those numbers have since tapered off just a bit, SBJ reports that SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt has still managed to average 745,000 viewers over the first six months of 2023, which is a 13% increase from the same period last year.
It’s no secret that Van Pelt’s edition of the show is the network’s most popular. However, the SportsCenter veteran recently expressed to Sports Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina that his time in the anchor chair may soon be coming to a close, doubting he’ll last another three years in his current capacity.
In addition to midnight being a successful time for ESPN, the 11 p.m. ET edition posted the biggest increase. It’s up 14% to an average of 578,000 viewers.
SBJ reports that the only window of time that dropped for SportsCenter was its noon edition of the show. The numbers there are down by 3% to 328,000 viewers.
In any event, these numbers are certainly encouraging for ESPN at a time when there’s a lot of debate about the future of highlights shows.